Here are 10-great acupuncture points to use daily, that may help with weight loss, feeling better, or even to decrease pain.
By Justin Burkett, L.Ac.
Need more energy but burned out on coffee? Need to relax but stressed about … well… everything? Feeling exhausted and under the weather, getting those bugs that always seem to be going around? Headaches? You got em? You really need to get in touch with yourself. Literally! Here’s the thing, acupuncture points can also function as acupressure points. Here are 10 Great ones to know about. That’s right GREAT!
Miriam Lee was a major pioneer in bringing acupuncture to America. In her book, Insights of a Senior Acupuncturist she lays out a simple yet profound protocol involving 10 needles at 10 powerful points. This protocol has a wide application and can address many of the common complaints seen in the clinic. She called this protocol the 10-Greats.
In this article I will introduce you to these points and their functions and offer suggestions for continuing to reap the benefits of acupuncture between your acupuncture sessions. If the language is a bit mysterious, and you want to learn more, come visit me at the Center for Health & Well Being in San Diego during one of my question and answer sessions.
Here are the Points:
Large Intestine 4 – He gu – Joining Valley
Lets start with a point that many people are already familiar with. In English this point is known as Large Intestine 4 (LI 4) In Chinese the name is Hegu, which means “joining valley“. This point is located on the hand and is famous for headaches. It’s one of the 4 Gates and also one of the four command points. It’s the command point for face nose mouth and jaw. Additionally it’s an important point for the Large Intestine.
“When the qi and blood are flowing freely, there is no pain”
One of the chief functions of the Large Intestines is to receive the waste material from the body, extract what it can via the microbial symbiots who call it home, and to then to eliminate the rest. Not to be too scatological here, but it’s job is to make and to let go of crap; Literally and figuratively. In Chinese Medicine we learn that the physiological functions of the organ systems have psychological / emotional analogs. When the crap is not released on a regular basis it stays inside the body and seeps into the tissues and organs. This creates a pressure and glucks you up. This extra pressure buildup then can manifest in the head as a headache, or tooth pain, halitosis, and more. This point helps with the large intestine function.
Another fact about the Large Intestine is that it is the home to much of our immune system. Yes that’s right. The colonies of bacteria and microflora in our bowels have implications in our ability to fight off pathogens. It just might be the case that your colon is involved with the sniffles, allergies, weight gain, frequent colds and flus, headaches.
Life can get complex and complicated but it’s good to know that there are some simple indicators of good health, and often times it involves things we are still too immature to talk seriously about, but it can be generally felt that if your poop looks good and smells okay, you’ve got a good chance of being healthy and happy. If it’s just a foul-smelling mess, or just a hard block of constipation, guess what, that’s not just a reflection of what’s going on inside, it IS what’s going on inside. It’s a message, clean up your diet, get to know your body use your pressure points, get acupuncture, take herbs.
Large Intestine 11 – Qu Chi- Pool at the Bend
This point is used to clear heat.
“Heat?” you might be asking. “What’s do you mean heat? Why are acupuncturists always talking about heat?”
Heat is another way of talking about “inflammation”. In FLAMES, on FIRE. In the process of life there is a metabolic fire that consumes fuel and oxygen and this fire is used to run the physiological processes that move us and make new tissues and all the other things that it takes to maintain being a warm-blooded mammal.
What is the fuel that this fire consumes?
There are two basic kinds of fuel, one is the result of the food you’ve eaten, and the other is your “essence”. I’ll address the Chinese Medicine concept of “essence” in a future article, but basically it’s enough to understand for now that your day to day energy comes from the food you eat, like a checking account is used for day to day expenses. The essence is more like your savings account, your deeper reserves. When your fire is out of balance it starts to consume your essence and “Inflammation” ensues. Inflammation speeds up aging. Inflammation also invites …. Dampness. It’s part of the natural balance. If there’s fire, use water. This point is like inviting a pool of water to cool off the heat. It’s also on the Large Intestine Channel and can help to bring more fluid into the colon and soften stools that could be causing constipation.
STomach 36 – Zu San Li – Leg Three Mile
In ancient times before cars, walking was the way to get to where you were going. Needless to say a person could get mighty tired by the end of a day. Ancient sages discovered that stimulating this point with thumbs, or stones, or burning herbs, or later, needles, gave them the strength to walk another 3 miles, thus the name “Leg Three Mile”
This point is used in the Clinic to address symptoms like fatigue and low energy. It also helps to boost the metabolism and aids in digestion, and is used for stomach problems. In Fact, this is such a usefull point, not only is it one of the 10 great points, it’s also one of the FOUR MASTER POINTS – it is the master point for Digestive disorders.
Lung 7 – Lie Que – Broken Sequence
Lung 7 is a Key Point for boosting the immune system. It is excellent for runny noses, congestion, chills and fever, scratchy throat and sneezing. It’s basically like stimulating your body’s response to viral attacks. This point is basically deep in a cleft in a bone. Stimulating this point, stimulates the periosteum, (the layer of connective tissue around the bone (< peri : around, osteo: Bone)), and stimulating the periosteum is a way to stimulate a cascade reaction of strong regimented immune function.
Spleen 6, Sanyinjiao, 3 yin intercrossing
Spleen 6, is a handy to point to know about, and a handy point to find. It is a hands-width distance above the tip of the inner ankle bone. You should feel a groove in the bone. This point is where the qi of the Spleen, Liver and Kidney Channels converge. It’s like a 3-in-1 general purpose point that will help with blood flow, with lymphatic flow and with emotions. Feeling stressed out with achy feet, get to know this point.
So far, we have learned a bit about how to find the points, and bit about their general functions. Now you might be asking, how can I use them for the benefit of myself and my family? Good question.
How to Benefit from these Acupuncture Points
The deepest way to stimulate the points is through a qi-gong practice of point meditation. Next would be the use of acupuncture. However that requires the services of a trained practitioner such as myself. For home use as a self-care method, I would recommend accupressure with some aromatherapy. It would be great if you had some quality aromatherapy oil, or perhaps some herbal linament or balm of some sort. You could work with the points by massaging the healing oil, salve, or linament with adequate thumb pressure into the point. In the clinic my patients enjoy a linament called, “white flower oil” which is a peppermint, camphor, and lavender sort of affair.
When you precisely find a point, there is a unique reaction of the qi. It feels like a tingling numbness, quite like when your foot or hand falls asleep. With practice you can influence the points with your thoughts and by channeling your focus and awareness. With regular use of pressure point stimulation you will be helping your body achieve greater interconnectedness which sets the stage for vibrant production and freely flowing of qi.